Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Belated Father’s Day best wishes

Dear Readers: This column ran in Gannett newspapers on Father’s Day. My contract requires me to wait a couple of weeks before posting on my personal media, which is entirely fair. Soooo, that’s why you’re reading a Father’s Day column (or I hope you’ll read it) very much after the fact. I hope you’ll find it a fun read despite the tardiness. There’s always NEXT FD, right?



Happy Father’s Day, y’all. I know that irritates those of you who like to sneer at so-called “Hallmark holidays” but I think people who complain about “over-commercializing everything” aren’t philosophically opposed to these traditional celebrations so much as they’re lazy and/or cheap.

Y’all need to get over yourselves and commit one stinkin’ day to celebrating dad, faux dad, mom who is both dad and mom, Uncle Dad, Mentor Dad…you get the idea.

You remind me of those folks who spin not going to church as not only noble but also superior: “Church? Oh, no. I’m not religious, but I AM spiritual.”

No, you’re not. I’m guessing you’re really just into sleeping late. To be clear, I’m not unsympathetic but instead of acting like you’re some kind of Dalai Lame-o, summon the gonads to tell the unvarnished truth: “I would go to church but that will seriously eat into the time I need to stand in the sweltering humidity to wait for a table to open up at the latest overrated brunch place.”

I would totally respect that kind of candor. Spiritual? Hallmark holiday? Just stop, all y’all. Own your stuff, no matter how borderline repellent it is to the rest of us. OK, me.

A close friend allowed herself to be momentarily sad last month when her adult children ignored Mother’s Day, but the moment didn’t last long.

“I get it, of course!” she said pluckily to me, the completely wrong person to share this with. “It’s sort of a made-up holiday, after all.”

“Yes, it is,” I said. “So what?”

She looked a little flustered at this but I’m pretty sure she took it to heart because she left almost immediately to likely ponder the wisdom bomb I just dropped on her. Yes, I’m sure that was it.

So what if it took Hallmark to guilt-trip you into actually calling your parents? Bless them and all their treacly, overpriced greeting cards. (Well, not the ones that cost seven bucks because now I gotta send $13 to the neighbor kid I barely know who graduated, which seems weird and cheap…budget isn’t just a rental car agency, you know.)

If you’ve got two living parents, is it such a heavy lift to show up? Take Dad to the steak place with the unlimited yeast rolls. Yes, it’s a chain and we know you don’t approve of those either but, end of the day, it’s not about you. Take Mom, next time because you’ve already blown it this year, to the Thai place where she embarrasses you by requesting “no spice.” Or, if geography dictates, mail a gift in plenty of time and put a little thought into it. Too much for you to do? Two words: forceps delivery. What is WRONG with you?

My Dad has gone to glory, 13 years now, so I don’t have the crushing burden of having to shop for just the right Volkswagen Beetle coffee table book for him. Damn, I miss that.

Sometimes, Hallmark gets it right. If they make a few bucks in the process, I care not.

Well. I care a little because their “Sweetest Day, Always Celebrated on the Third Saturday In October!” is pure BS. A more realistic designation for that fake holiday would be Flop-Sweaty Desperate Drive to the Nearest Costume Store Day. It’s for parents who like their Halloween with a few extra hay bales of anxiety. You waited too late and the only costume left in the store is Slutty Tax Collector. It’s the kind of thing you could commiserate with your own parents about because they could relate. See, they did the parenting thing long before you discovered it, maybe not perfectly but mostly OK, and they deserve some gratitude. And, yes, a few of those yeast rolls.

Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Email her at [email protected].

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